Ray Strong: A Collector’s Passion

Exhibit On View Feb. 2 – July 8, 2019

The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature is pleased to present the exhibition, “Ray Strong: A Collector’s Passion,” that is open to the public through July 8, 2019.  The show features 32 paintings by renowned Santa Barbara artist Ray Strong (1905-2006), loaned by David Parker of Goleta.  While several pieces have been shown at venues throughout the county, this is the first time the entire collection will be shown together.

Parker, a native of the Santa Ynez Valley, has been a devoted collector of Strong’s work for years. “There is something spiritual about Ray's paintings that is hard to explain. But one thing for sure, each time I look at a Ray Strong painting, I feel a greater connection to the land and all the forces that formed it. And it is this connection that has driven me to continue to collect his work,” said Parker.

“Green Valley Reaching Towards Purple Peak” | Oil on Masonite, 24x30, Early 1980s | Courtesy of David Parker

“Green Valley Reaching Towards Purple Peak” | Oil on Masonite, 24x30, Early 1980s | Courtesy of David Parker

Born in Oregon, Strong painted primarily in Marin County and the Bay Area, but moved to Santa Barbara in 1960 having been commissioned to paint diorama murals for the Bird Hall at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. He loved painting throughout the county and eventually co-founded The Oak Group along with fellow painter Arturo Tello in 1986. That group of painters uses art to raise awareness and funds for endangered local landscapes and is still active today, with 25 members.

The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature has honored both Ray Strong and The Oak Group with its Wilderness Spirit Award for their efforts to conserve the county’s beautiful and ecologically important habitats and landscapes.

“We are grateful to David for sharing his amazing collection of Strong paintings with us and the public. His collection has an admirable range of artworks and also serves as a lesson to other would-be art collectors in how to be thoughtful, strategic, and determined in their pursuits. We couldn’t be more excited to share his collection with our community,” said executive director Stacey Otte-Demangate.

In addition to Parker’s collection, the Wildling also commissioned filmmaker Jeff McLoughlin of Goodeye Films to create a short video about Strong and his legacy. It is shown in the gallery, along with a few other paintings by artists who were taught or influenced by Strong. 

The Wildling is grateful to exhibition sponsor The Robert & Mercedes Eichholz Foundation and donors to the Patti Jacquemain Exhibition Fund.